Over the years, I’ve seen a multitude of sunscreen mistakes that can unknowingly damage your skin and accelerate the ageing process.
As we all know, sunscreen is a crucial component of your daily skincare routine and plays a vital role in protecting your skin from harmful UV rays, especially those pesky UVA rays that penetrate deeply into the dermis, triggering changes like pigmentation, wrinkles and sagging.
Today I want to highlight ten sunscreen habits to avoid, along with practical solutions to ensure you're making the most of this essential skincare product.
Top 10 Sunscreen Mistakes
1) Underdosing - Are You Using Enough Sunscreen?
Underdosing is a prevalent issue when it comes to sunscreen application. Studies show that most people apply only between ¼ and ½ of the recommended amount of sunscreen. To combat this, find a dosing method that works for you.
For daily protection of your face you can use a variety of methods - whether it's measuring two finger lengths, using a measuring spoon, or choosing a sunscreen product with a pump that dispenses the right amount, consistency is key to proper protection. The dosing rule of sunscreen is 2mg/cm squared, no matter what sunscreen you’re using. Measure it!
2) The Importance of UVA Protection
While we often worry about sunburn during the summer months, it's crucial to be aware of UVA rays all year round. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, causing premature ageing and increasing the risk of skin cancer. Look for a sunscreen with a high UVA rating to ensure you are protected from these harmful rays throughout the year.
Learn more about How To Read A Sunscreen Label here
3) Mastering the 13 Dot Technique
To achieve even coverage for your face, I devised the 13 Dot Technique. By systematically applying small dots of sunscreen across your face, you can ensure every area is adequately protected. This technique is especially useful for those who tend to miss spots or apply sunscreen unevenly.
4) Don't Forget the Missed Bits
It's easy to overlook certain areas when applying sunscreen. Your hairline, ears, neck, and even eyelids are common spots that often get missed. Make a conscious effort to apply sunscreen to these areas to avoid uneven protection and potential sunburn.
5) The Reapplication Dilemma
Reapplying sunscreen can be challenging, especially if you're wearing makeup. To simplify this process, consider using a tinted SPF product instead. This allows you to top up through your day and gives you a veil of coverage, so you look pulled-together.
Learn more about How To Reapply Sunscreen Without Wrecking Your Make-Up here
6) Say No to Mixing Sunscreen with Other Products
Mixing sunscreen with other products, like moisturisers or makeup, can diminish its effectiveness. Sunscreen needs to form a protective barrier on your skin, and diluting it with other products may reduce its ability to shield you from harmful UV rays. Apply sunscreen as the final step in your skincare routine for the best results - and do it neat!
7) The Right Format Matters
Choosing the right sunscreen format is essential. I discourage my patients from the use of sunscreen in pipette bottles as it tends to encourage incorrect application - it runs everywhere and you’ll be tempted to apply less than is needed. Instead, opt for sunscreen lotions or creams with easy-to-use pumps for a hassle-free experience that’s easy to dose.
8) Protecting Your Skin from Visible Light
In addition to UV rays, visible light can also contribute to skin damage, especially if you are prone to pigmentation or a Fitzpatrick Skin Type (FST) of 3 or darker. Look for sunscreens that offer protection against visible light to safeguard your skin comprehensively - Iron Oxides are a common ingredient in tinted sunscreens and cosmetics and are helpful at blocking visible light.
9) Avoid Using Your Children's SPF
If you have acne-prone skin, steer clear of using your children's water-resistant sunscreen. These formulas might contain comedogenic ingredients that can clog your pores and exacerbate acne breakouts. Instead, choose a sunscreen specifically formulated for the face that’s labelled non-comedogenic, meaning it’ll be less likely to clog pores.
10) Sunscreen Is Not Your Only Line of Defence
Remember, sunscreen is just one part of a trifecta of behaviours to keep your skin safe from harmful UV rays. Seek shade whenever possible, especially during peak sun hours, and wear protective clothing like wide-brimmed hats and UV-blocking sunglasses to complete your sun protection routine.
Wrapping Up Sunscreen Tips
Protecting your skin from the sun's harmful rays is crucial for maintaining healthy, youthful skin. By avoiding these ten common sunscreen mistakes, you can ensure your skin stays vibrant and protected.
Remember, proper sunscreen habits combined with other preventative measures are the keys to ageing well and keeping your skin at its best for years to come. Stay sun-smart and enjoy beautiful, healthy skin!
If you’re ready to put these tips into action, check out our range of sunscreen and SPF products.